Parental Journal 13 from Planet Elderly: The Sheriff Incident

Fri. May 22, 2015 7:30 a.m.

Have enjoyed a couple of weeks in mid-MO…but not enough time to see everyone, especially some grandchildren.

I was back in Columbia for two days when I called Mom.  She claimed to have “no money.”  I reminded her of where her bank books were…then she was less agitated.  Not good, I thought.  We have reviewed and drilled on basic money information many times when I was up there.  I’m concerned about her memory issues.  I was hoping I would not have that conversation while in MO…but it happened.

Yesterday I returned to Columbia from Linn, MO….ready to go food shopping for a weekend visit with two grandchildren Fri. and Sat.  when Victory Lakes called ….”about your mother.”  Apparently she was escorted to Victory Lakes by a Lake County Sheriff.  Story:  she was at a CVS pharmacy and asked for help because she was disoriented and confused.  They called the sheriff’s department and she told him she needed to visit her husband…so she was taken there.   Victory Lakes called me because they said she was agitated…had complained of a headache and knee pain…insisted on being brought to her car…but they did not believe she should drive.  I gave them neighbor Kevin’s phone number and he helped to get her home.  Before he arrived, the social worker spoke with Mom about everyone’s concern.  Mom promised to get checked out.

So Kevin got her home and then they went to the ER.  After I stopped in Springfield for the night, I returned a call from her.  She said everything was fine. (She had called Steve earlier in the day to tell him to tell me that I should not drive up…but as soon as I heard from Victory Lakes, I packed the car and took off…not really knowing what was going on. )  I told her I was in Springfield and that I had cancelled weekend visits with grandchildren, a dental visit Tues. and an annual medical exam Wed. because people are concerned about her confusion and wellbeing…so I’ll come up and hang out a while.   She seemed fine with that.

Had a restful night’s sleep at a Fairfield Inn Marriot…lovely room.  Nice dinner last night at Baker’s Square restaurant.  Now writing a bit and listening to CNN.  Waiting for morning traffic to subside and then I’ll be on the road again.

Thursday, June 18, 2015 late morning

The visit with my mom was a bit contentious. She clearly did not want me there.  When she first saw me her words were:  “Oh.  Hi.”  We had some difficult discussions the first day or so…talked about stuff we should have talked about decades ago.  For me it cleared the air, but for her it just added to her stress.  At least she knows why I never wanted to move “back home” after college and live close to my parents all these years…but she also knows I appreciate all she struggled with in order to provide for me.  I also learned that she was abused as a young girl and when I was quite young, she worried that the same person would abuse me.  He didn’t.  The visit was short, emotional and murky.

Have enjoyed some time in Missouri with family and friends…worked on some projects on Steve’s property…completed all my rescheduled dental/medical appointments…and now I’m getting ready to return to IL.  Plan to be with my dad for Father’s Day and for his 93rd birthday July 1.  Then I’ll return to MO.  Dermatologist discovered another area of basal cell skin cancer…so that will be removed July 6th.  Been through it before, so I know the drill.

Recent phone conversations with Mom have been interesting.  She keeps reminding me that she enjoys living alone in peace and quiet….she doesn’t want anyone cluttering up her refrigerator…she’s confused about banking/bill stuff, so I’ll assist with that when she asks me…often says “I don’t know how much longer I can do this,” but refuses to speak with a counselor or to see a doctor about continual leg pain….told me she has had to glue her $2 shoes because she doesn’t have time to go shopping for shoes.  I offered to do Dad’s laundry when I come up so she can have a few hours to shop for shoes, but she said she will not have me doing his laundry.  I asked if she’ll let me do some cooking.  “I’ll think about it,” she said.  She’s quite lucid most of the time, but paranoid and defensive at other times.  She’ll still complain that she doesn’t see the pension checks even though I have explained many, many times that they are automatically deposited.  She was angry about that the other day and said she was going to go talk to the folks at Bank of America.  Not sure she went.  She’s also convinced that Dad calls places and has things done.  I just shake my head.  He can’t hear.  He can’t use a phone.  He can’t complete enough sentences to have a conversation.  But Mom insists.  “You don’t know him.  I do.  He probably has someone helping him.”  I simply sigh.

I’ll make it a two-day trip to get up there…start tomorrow and arrive Saturday.  In anticipation of the visit I am not sleeping well…but hoping that while I’m there I can remain somewhat patient and keep my mouth shut.

About jjmummert

Just another voice in the wilderness from someone who's lived on this planet for over 60 years and faces permanent residency on Planet Elderly. Update: As of March 2, 2017, I turned 70. I'm now an official resident of Planet Elderly. Dad passed away September 22, 2016. I view the Parental Journal entries as part therapy, part family history, sort of a case study of what our family experiences with one parent in a memory care unit, another living independently with short-term memory loss, and me, the only child daughter who lives 400 miles away. It's quite an adventure. Recommended readings for others who have loved ones who live with some form of dementia: The 36-Hour Day, The Myth of Alzheimer's - What You Aren't Being Told About Today's Most Dreaded Diagnosis, Alzheimer's Early Stages.
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